Planning for the future by creating a connected city
What is Discovery Walk?
Discovery Walk is a four-block linear parkway in downtown Rochester, MN along 2nd Avenue SW that will serve pedestrians as well as vehicle traffic. This multipurpose public space and streetscape is the first of its kind in Rochester. The vision for this project is to create a high amenity landscaped road and utility reconstruction project in the middle of downtown that prioritizes pedestrian experience while also maintaining flexibility for bike and vehicular access, civic events, and supports future development.
Destination Medical Center (DMC) is prototyping a kinder future for construction; one that considers patients, pedestrians, and business owners first. It’s called Business Forward.
“Every business owner will say that anytime they’ve had construction in front of their businesses, they’ve never felt like they’ve been a part of the plan,” says Jamie Rothe, Director of Community Engagement and Experience for DMC Economic Development Agency. “With this type of project, we felt like we needed to build it together. And that’s what we need to do; share information, get information back, then modify and adjust.”
The Rochester City Council has approved plans to move forward with design development, engineering work and construction bidding for Destination Medical Center’s (DMC) Discovery Walk, a five-block linear parkway along 2nd Avenue SW in downtown Rochester that will serve pedestrians as well as vehicle access. The design process is led by Coen+Partners.
Destination Medical Center (DMC) and the Heart of the City design team collaborated with local prototypers to test out design concepts for Heart of the City Phase 1 and create an engaging public realm. The design team includes Minneapolis-based landscape architects Coen+Partners in collaboration with RSP Architects, El Dorado, Latent Design, Kimley-Horn Associates, and Fluidity.
The prototypers were selected based on work presented at the 2016 Rochester Prototyping Festival. The design team felt these prototypes resonated with Heart of the City public realm work and invited the prototypers to test out a 2.0 version of their original concepts. The installations will be on display in Peace Plaza through mid-November.
Though skylines are often the most recognizable feature of notable American cities, the activity taking place on the ground is where we find the human-to-human connections that make up the true heart of a community. Destination Medical Center – together with community leaders, business owners, engaged citizens, and the City of Rochester – is strategically exploring the best ways to nurture life and activity at street level.
“Discovery Walk” is the public realm that runs along four blocks of 2nd Avenue Southwest (from the Heart of the City at 2nd Street to Soldiers Field Park at 6th Street). The plan is to transform the underused and uninviting two-lane street into a tree-lined, multi-use linear parkway.
The process began by assembling and analyzing existing and new data. This served as the foundation for a recent “Design Sprint,” which involved three teams of stakeholders who were asked to explore and develop concepts to address design issues, such as transportation, parking, commercial districts, and neighborhood connections. Each team took on a different point of view for design considerations. One group took on the perspective of patients, visitors, and St. Marys employees; another, adjacent business and property owners; and the third, nearby neighborhoods.
A few months ago, DMC developed the design process for the public realm/public infrastructure for the St. Marys Place sub-district and 2nd Street Corridor. With the data collection phase complete, we recently initiated the next step in the process: the Design Sprint.
This process called for teams of stakeholders – property owners, neighborhood leaders, Mayo Clinic representatives, and city staff – to work with a team of designers to develop concepts that address issues such as pedestrian circulation (think streetscape, skyways, and tunnels), parking, and neighborhood connections.
ROCHESTER, Minn. (May 26, 2016) – At today’s board meeting, the Destination Medical Center (DMC) Corporation Board of Directors highlighted the substantial progress being made on projects in the DMC District. These projects include some of the DMC’s top development priorities: Discovery Square, Heart of the City, and transportation improvements. The Board also heard plans for DMC’s participation in this year’s BIO International Convention, the largest international event for the biotechnology industry.
The Community Advisory Committee charged with guiding the public realm design for Heart of the City, the DMC sub-district that serves as the soul of Rochester’s downtown, selected six consulting teams this week from the eleven who applied.